Thursday, July 23, 2009

The heat encompassed me; burning my face, stealing my breath. Where there had been solid ground moments earlier there was now only sugar sand. I slipped, then slipped again. Where there had been a hill before me, now stood a mountain. I felt like a failure when I was forced to slow my pace. I felt like a failure when I was forced to stop completely. I tried to put one foot in front of the other and felt myself falling backwards. I looked up to the sky and cried out, “Why?”…

It hasn’t taken me long to realize that planning for a race is a lot like running in a race. Only it’s more difficult, scarier, and last a whole lot longer. For me to be involved in something like this is a miracle in itself. With an ulcer at the age of 9, it was obvious that worry and anxiety had an unusually tight grip on me from very early on. When I was called to do something on the scale of this event, I knew it couldn’t have been anything other than God. This isn’t something that I ever possibly could have gone into without Him. And yet, I continue in my anxiousness. I make a mistake and I feel like I’ve failed. I miss something and I feel like I’ve failed again. I lay awake at 3:00 am and beg God to please let me finally fall asleep, to quiet the numbers and details battling it out in my mind.

And then, in a rare, precious moment of silence, I felt His words. Races aren’t supposed to be easy. And they’re not. Races are to test our endurance and our courage. They’re to be fought for, to struggle through and to challenge ourselves. They’re to stretch us and help us grow toward a goal that we once thought was unattainable. Races are to be won. Whether we cross the finish line standing tall, hands raised high, or we cross the finish line crawling with the very last of our strength.

In the next moments, I’m preparing to sign Rhyan up for the race that bears her name. The feeling is surreal and my emotions are continuing to bring tears in remembrance. Seven years ago, almost to the day, we were told of her hearing loss, making arrangements for her implant, and we embarked on another type of race. One that also took all of our strength, courage and endurance. It, too, stretched us and helped us grow toward this goal that we never would have thought we could attain. And for both races, Rhyan was born and destined to run.

The answer to my question, “Why?”. Because I’m Rhyan’s Mommy. And for both races, there’s no place I’d rather be, or could be, than right in the middle of it all. Whether I cross the finish line standing tall with my hands held high, or I cross it on my knees, I will be the perfect position to praise the One that created this course. And when I give the glory to Him alone, we will all come away with the ultimate victory.

"But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength;They shall mount up with wings like eagles,They shall run and not grow weary,They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31